Tohono Chul Garden Bistro highlights the natural beauty of the southwest while offering exceptional cuisine. Located on the grounds of Tohono Chul Park, at 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, this restaurant is positioned in the center of a mystical desert environment, creating a delightful atmosphere for incoming guests.
Walking through the front entrance was especially breathtaking thanks to the exterior outdoor design. Elements such as a pathway laced with southwestern native plants, the melody of a tranquil water fountain and a stone archway all created this effect.
Positioned neatly outside the restaurant, the hostess stand is the first thing I saw as I walked towards the bistro. After a friendly introduction with the host and an offer to choose between indoor and outdoor seating, I was sat inside.
After being seated, my server formally greeted me and was very eager to give me detailed information on almost all of the menu items. While the interior of the restaurant gives the impression of a fine dining ambiance, my experience was very laid back and comfortable.
Once I reviewed their afternoon tea menu I was pleasantly surprised at the reasonable prices. From this menu you can dine on a variety of options ranging from appetizers, salads, soups, desserts and alcoholic beverages. My companion and I ended up ordering their apricot tea ($3), prickly pear lemonade ($2.50), caprese salad ($7), Sonoran shrimp cocktail ($7) and the Petite Quiche Lorraine with mushrooms and bacon ($6).
Within moments of placing my order my friend and I both received our beverages, which were very refreshing. The prickly pear lemonade was especially satisfying as it embodied sweet and fruity flavors all into one sip. The tea was also delicious having a full bodied taste with a slight apricot note.
Once our server placed our meal in front of us I was delighted at the colorful arrangement that lit up the table. Sampling the caprese salad first, I relished the delectable flavors of the basil, tomato, fresh cheese and balsamic reduction combination. I also quite enjoyed the fact that the salad wasn’t drowning in dressing, a common occurrence that often overpowers a salad.
Next I tried the quiche which was by far my favorite item. This slice of perfection united meatiness and creaminess all into one bite, thanks to the combination of bacon, mushrooms, eggs and cheese. Alongside this dish was a small salad of cherry tomatoes and asparagus coated in a tangy vinaigrette adding a lighter contrast to the rich quiche.
Lastly I tasted the Sonoran shrimp cocktail, which was accompanied by a plate of trio colored tortilla chips. This savory and citrusy appetizer had bits of fresh tomato, shrimp, cilantro, lime, jalapeno and onion all garnished with sliced fresh avocado.
As I finished my meal I couldn’t help but appreciate the spectacular landscape that was outside my window. All in all my experience was stellar at Tohono Chul Garden Bistro.
With a selection of items that can fit anyone’s appetite and a simplistic approach to utilizing quality ingredients, this restaurant is a winner in my book. If you’re looking for a low key yet sophisticated place to eat, then Tohono Chul Garden Bistro is definitely a must try.
Tohono Chul Garden Bistro is open Monday – Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. offering breakfast, lunch, brunch and afternoon tea throughout the day.
For more information visit their website at www.tohonochulpark.org/wordpress/.